Ink Not Spreading on Rollers

I don’t understand why the ink isn’t spreading on the bottom roller. It’s Van Son rubber - about 6 years old but it is my understanding that it lasts forever?

image: Pilot-Inking.jpg


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Looks like the ink plate is too low and the bed rails are still supporting the lower roller but the upper roller is off the bed rails making contact with the ink plate. Add a washer or two of the appropriate size to the stem of the ink plate and raise the plate up until the lower roller inks. Should be a simple fix.


Little test, to verify our friend Fritz1, above when you are washed up and no colour up, with the rollers at the top, as pictured, and with a flashlight, torch, handlamp etc in slightly darkened surroundings, can light be seen under either roller or part of either roller, disproving or proving (hopefully) Fritz,s solution!! Or slightly more Hi Tech, park the rollers at top of the stroke, as pictured, and then with car/auto type feeler guages, check for clearance on all 4 trucks against the rails? Car/Auto feeler guages usually go up in .001” increments or compound multiples, .001” .002” .003” etc etc… . Hopefully verifying Fritz,s answer, (I. E. no contact between trucks and rails and full contact between disc and rollers) but also fitting, only the MINIMUM thickness of washer(s) to achieve the objective, but also to keep the ink disc rotator/finger in sync.!!!

An additional test perhaps… switch the rollers to determine if it is the mounting position or the roller itself?

Rubber base ink does not last forever. It will thicken slowly even in a sealed can until it is no longer useable. Oil base in the other hand has a much longer shelf life under its skin.
Ink generally needs to be worked to get to printing consistancy, and this is especially true of rubber base ink. If the ink can be worked with a knife on the slab, then ink may not be the problem here but rather the roller-disk contact. If on the other hand you are dabbing thick ink onto the press and expecting the rollers to do all the work, poor distribution can result. This is even more important on a Pilot where all the action comes from your arm. You can save a lot of that work by a relaatively small effort with an ink knfe.

I find applying the ink to the disk with a roller helps to control the amount you are adding as well as getting the ink worked .
if the ink is old but not dried you could add a little reducing paste ,i am sure van son do supply a form of extender for their ink .
The image appears that the roller is not making the disc contact required , go through a cycle till the lower roller is at the highest point then without lifting it upward rotate the roller with your hands yes you are gonna get inky , dont press down nor lift anything ,just rotate the roller a half turn ,
cycle the press till the roller backs away from the disc ,has the movement you made with the roller left a mark on the disc?
Have you got tape on the rails at the point where the rollers need to roll onto the disc , it is normal for the rollers to clatter up onto the disc a little bit ,if you dont hear the rollers change from the bearers to the disc with a light clatter then the tape if any needs cutting back to allow the rollers to touch the disc properly .
Or as fritz says add a thin washer beneath the ink disc and in the interest of the age of the beast use a nylon washer it reduces wear remarkably.